Melcer’s letter draws response from Florida

Dear Editor, I am responding to the letter from Mr. M. Richard Melcer, dated 7/15/2003, in which he cites his objection to disabled military retirees being allowed to receive both their earned retired pay and compensation for injuries or illnesses incurred during their service careers. Melcer states that this is not a tax. In the strictest sense of the word, he is correct. The phrase “Disabled Veterans Tax” was coined in June by Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia when he introduced a Discharge Petition in the House to move a bill, H.R. 303, out of committee (where it has died for the past 18 years despite over 80% of members co-sponsoring it) for discussion and a vote by the full House. What Melcer does not consider, however, is that these are two separate pays for two separate reasons. When a military member makes a career of military service he or she is entitled to retired pay. If a military member becomes disabled during their service he or she is entitled to disability compensation. Any service member who becomes disabled is approved by VA, which I must say is not an easy thing to do, receives this disability compensation tax free. The problem is that a military member who is fortunate enough to make it to retirement is required to forfeit his or her retirement pay dollar-for-dollar in order to receive the disability compensation. No other Federal, state or private employee is affected this way ‘only military retirees. Melcer’s condescending statement that these veterans “who feel that the government and the general public owe them total support for the balance of their lives” is an insult to all the men and women who have made military service their career choice. We (I am a disabled military retiree who spent three years in Vietnam) are not asking for anything extra. We only want the retired pay that we earned through many years of hardship while serving this country. I hope that Mr. Melcer is not representative of all of the public. If anyone wishes more information on this subject, there is a great deal available on the internet. Just enter “concurrent receipt” in a search engine or go to my web site at: http://www.geocities.com/danhill9/veterans/disabled_veterans_tax_info.html and you will find information and links to more information. Dan Hill, SFC, (Retired), Tampa, Fla.

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